Category Archives: Planning

March 2014 – motion and popcorn!

Who doesnt like popcorn?  My plan is to create a plain with unpopped kernels then shoot the kernels popping with long and very short shutter hopefully I can capture a kernel actually popping.  Then with all three images overlayed present the result.  Almost like a product shot for orville reddenbacker.  How do you spell that?  I plan to shoot this weekend.  I’m gone the following weekend.  What happened to March?

March 2014 – motion

This next 3 months is going to be crazy between weddings speaking engagements and working full time I’m barely going to see my family.  This months theme comes from that ever present need to run …trying to beat the clock.  Being in constant motion.
My speedlights never did arrive and I’m busy chasing the seller and paypal to find out what happened and try to get my money back.  Not having speedlights will make my concept very difficult.  I wanted to do a three stage composite one with still life one with blurred motion and one with obvious motion frozen in time and present all three side by side or layered.  Without the speed control of my new speedlights its going to be a challenge. 
Perhaps it will take that much more creativity.

Wish me luck.  Here we go again.

Feb 2014 – Fire

Fire!  I have been fascinated by fire since I was a kid.  The brightness the color the heat, even the power and the unpredictable nature of it. 


I wanted the fire to be red.  This can be accomplished by adding lithium metal to the flame.  Unfortunately lithium is not readily or easily available.  There are different types of inks and pigments used in print that can achieve red also but finding them in concentration without other contaminants is difficult.

After a bit of debate I settled on a bright white additive magnesium sulphate also known as epsom salts. 
The main fire source is rubbing alcohol.  I chose this as it easily dilutes with water has a low burning temperature and is complete clear which will help contribute to the illusion of the ice being on fire. 

All I have to do is dissolve the salt in the alcohol.  About 1tsp per 100ml. 


I think the results speak for themselves.

Feb 2014-Ice making

I wanted the ice to be crystal clear.  I read several tutorials online and watched a few videos.  Several key factors were obvious.  1. The water needs to be as pure as possible. 2.  The process of freezing must be slow.

I also remembered a documentary where they needed to make clear ice and vibrated the water as it was freezing to get the temperature as low as possible before it turned solid.

I decided to make ice in a cooler I had.  I added some smaller containers to try and get some different shaped blocks.  I flooded the entire cooler with distilled water.   I added several drops of blue dye thinking that would help make the ice a more blue color.


The beard trimmer was to buzz and prevent the surface from freezing but it didn’t last more than 6 hours.  I concluded its value was minimal.

This is what it looked like before it went to the freezer


After 2 days the block was still not fully frozen.  I noticed the dye seemed to be concentrated in the area that did not freeze.
I decided to pull the block out.  After I got the block out of the cooler I realized it would have been awesome as is without the containers.

I decided to cut the block and pull out the containers.  I found a few surprises.


Some perfectly clear well formed shapes.  I think this will work very well.

Feb 2014 – the plan

I have a million ideas for photos I want to take.  I’m pretty excited for this year and while finding time to take photos has been a bit of a struggle these monthly photos have more or less kept me on track.
This month I will be working with the theme fire and ice.  The concept is simple incorporate both ice and fire in the same shot.  I had the thought what if the ice was burning?  Would that be cool?  So this months picture will be a self portrait with flaming ice.

Stay tuned for the storyboard.

January 2014 – shoot day

My wife did a great job of making me a snake that I can use to cast a shadow.  I made the projection box for my flask to project the cross and then proceeded to set up the shot in my make shift studio.  The weather has been nice so photography has taken a backseat to all the other activities of the day, but I still took some time to get everything set up and shoot the first test shots. 

You can see part of the setup below. 

I’ll try and post some of the test shots later.  I’m feeling uncertain about them at best, but admittedly am feeling like photography is pretty unimportant.  A friend of mine is in paliative care right now so our hearts and prayers are with him. 

In all things to God be glory…thats even the reminder in the symbols of this months picture.  Can’t forget that.  Ever.

January 2014 – new resolve

I discovered today that problems often have more than one solution.  Duh… but this time I lived it.  All this time ive been upset about not getting my speedlights in time etc. 
There are other sources of light and in a still life image like this a speedlight might not be necessary.

Tomorrow I set up for my first shoot.  One remote triggered speedlight.  One lamp to cast a conical light behind the subject and one constant light projecting the shadow.  I think I will use a one watt led flashlight both for light output and projection.  The white balance might be a trick but I think with some gels and desaturation I just might be able to get the dramatic effect.

And good news on the subject front.  I chose one.  A glass of wine.  Oh I know its been done but it contributes to the symbolism.   Wine representing jesus blood in communion.  Alcohol sometimes referred to as the devils juice.  The historic political social religious conflict of abolisionism.  Its all there. 

I’m pretty excited.  Maybe you can tell.  Maybe you’ll be more excited when I have something to show.  Expect the first test images Saturday.  Until then.  Keep looking.  Keep shooting…

January 2014 disappointment

I have mixed feelings about this weekend.   On one hand I did get out to shoot and I did have a chance to start post on some of the first images from my d800E but with a lack of speedlights I was not able to execute my shoot.  Since it is January 20th already the end of January deadline is going to be tight. 
I’m happy that I can share this.  No matter how well planned life doesn’t go as expected.  I did have a good morning at church and I am reminded again how much joy I can take in grace.  Tomorrow is a new day and if the flashes don’t arrive it will be a day of planning a “b” side shoot for this month.

January 2014 setup

Below is the setup for January’s shoot.  I have also begun planning several months into the future.  I am worried as my camera flashes have not arrived yet that I will be unable to actually shoot what I am wanting to.  There is also a slight issue with only having one remote trigger.  These are both unforseen and as the month quickly comes to an end I am seriously considering abandoning or delay this shoot and running with something else.

A little frazzled as today was supposed to be the day to execute.

I guess that’s part of the process.

January 2014 photo project – Planning

It took almost a full week to decide on an idea for this months shot  O_o .  I have to admit the temptation to say “forget it” and just go out and shoot whatever I feel like is strong.  I won’t say I won’t do that at all this year, but these monthly shots are an exercise in the craft of conceiving and executing unique shots that capture and communicate ideas through a single photo.  So I persist, if only for my own benefit…

This months theme: Light and Shadow

This concept was not born in a photographic technique and the idea is not to simply create a shot that includes lights and shadow (most good photos do), but to actually take the tension of good and evil and the story darkness verses light that has been told and retold as part of Christian heritage and somehow in a single image capture that conflict.

I chose this month to play with projection, both the projection of light and the projection of a silhouette (shadow).  I will not simply include a silhouette figure in the image, but actually use methods of projection to show simultaneously a snake like shadow and a cross like beam of light.

I am torn on a main subject.  A heart?  A self portrait?  A Bible?  I want a subject that isn’t a massive cliche.  I have enough classic imagery planned for this shot already.  As a result of this lack of decision on a subject I came up with a crude storyboard featuring only those two elements (I said it was crude and I mean it, you probably couldn’t even tell it was a snake, and for that reason I won’t show it here.  Fortunately for me I’m a better visualizer and photographer than I am a sketch artist.)

My basic lighting plan consists of a background horizontal plane lit by a flash behind a sheet of cardboard with a cross shape cut into it, the cross proportionally smaller at the top so the the projected image will look proportionally even in the light source.

The second light will be a weaker direction light which will provide the main fill light and will most likely be a medium source light like a window.

The shadow element will be a projection from a softbox through a narrow opening to give more directionality for the projection and a simple black stencil on cellophane will serve to create the image of the snake (The images I have contracted to my wife to draw for me.  She is a crazy good artist and it gives me an excuse to involve her in the project.)

This post is getting to long and lacks the visual luster of my typical work, so I’ll end here, but take a moment to look at my gallery page.  You won’t regret it and it will give your brain a chance to focus on visual aspects and less on the language center, if that’s even a thing (I’m apologetically not a neuroscietist,  maybe when I’m older…)